Penguin Pool Murder, 1932
James Gleason and Edna May Oliver, usually supporting players in a hundred other classic Hollywood films, have the leads in this short murder mystery (65 minute) which mostly plays out at the New York City Aquarium
Gleason is a seasoned police detective called in to look at a corpse found in an aquarium tank (more corpses will follow as the story progresses) and Edna May Oliver is a school teacher leading a group of children on a field trip when the killing occurs.
As the police begin making slip-shod conclusions based on circumstantial evidence, Edna May steps in and begins straightening out the mess will astute observations. Impressed, James Gleason's detective starts to get a little smitten at the prodigious brain power of this spinsterish school marm.
A lot of snappy comedy (both leads have plenty of 1930s style sardonic patter) is mixed in with the body count, and both Oliver and Gleason get to mug at the camera with abandon.
Original Page January 28 2015
From former screen legends who have faded into obscurity to new revelations about the biggest movie stars, Valderrama unearths the most fascinating little-known tales from the birth of Hollywood through its Golden Age.
Winner of the 2020 Peter C. Rollins Book Award
Longlisted for the 2020 Moving Image Book Award by the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation
Named a 2019 Richard Wall Memorial Award Finalist by the Theatre Library Association